Tesla Autopark, Autopilot's Younger Brother, Misbehaves, Dents a Bumper

It must be hard to have an older brother who takes up all the spotlight, but that's what is apparently happening in the Tesla Autopilot/Autopark relationship.
Tesla Model S failed Autopark 4 photos
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Tesla Model S failed AutoparkTesla Model S failed AutoparkTesla Model S failed Autopark
One of the features promises to relieve the driver of the burden of driving (especially on highways and other roads with a center divider, OK, kids?), while the other will just take care of parking for you. Well, I know a few people who would choose the latter if they only had to live with one of them, so maybe the scales aren't so tilted in Autopilot's favor as we initially thought.

But it was the semi-autonomous feature that made all the headlines lately, even though not for the best reasons, most of the times. We all know by now what the main talking point has been over the past two months, so there's nothing to gain by going into details again. Now, though, it looks like the Autopark might be attempting to catch up with the more elaborate function as this very short clip from YouTube user Philippe Marseille shows.

Even though they teach it as early as driving school, parallel parking remains one of the trickiest maneuvers for some throughout their driving careers. They can even go to the extent where they'll avoid it altogether, parking three blocks away just because the space there allowed them to pull in with the front of the car.

Luckily for them, cars have started being equipped with automated parking systems. The introduction of electrically assisted steering, as well as more evolved parking sensors, allowed the vehicle to guide itself into a parking spot to the delight of some owners. They were hugely expensive at first, but now that cars come packed with sensors all-around, it's a lot more common feature to have.

Obviously, the Tesla Model S can get it as well. However, following this clip, some owners might think twice before using the feature instead of parking themselves as being lazy can be extremely costly. Take Philippe's case for example: he finds a very convenient parking space where his Model S would easily fit.

The rearview camera and parking sensors make this maneuver very simple for a human driver, and yet some choose to allow the vehicle to do it. It's probably that feeling that you've paid for a feature so you might as well use it, even though you don't really need it.

Here, though, Philippe's Model S makes a miscalculation and clips the rear right side of a parked GMC pickup truck. Assuming the car was indeed running on Autopark, it's really hard to find an excuse for the system. The conditions were great, both cars were clean, and the parking space did not require the Tesla to go so close to the other car as there was plenty of room.

If you think that the driver should have foreseen this and stepped on the brake earlier, I might agree with you. But this could be the same story as with the Autopilot: after it's worked on so many occasions, the drivers tend to trust the system, and that's when it punishes them. Philippe's pictures on his Reddit post show that the contact took place just above the car's ultrasonic sensors, which kind of makes it ironic.

Tesla hasn't commented on the incident, but we'd be curious to know if the company can be held liable in any way, presuming the story on Philippe's side checks out. Probably not, but the car was probably insured anyway, so it's not like this is going to cost the owner anything. He says that the pickup showed virtually no damage.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)
About the author: Vlad Mitrache
Vlad Mitrache profile photo

"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories